Monday, 15 March 2010

Carbon-capture powerstation planned for Hunterston

Melanie Reid

Plans for a “green” coal-fired power station in Ayrshire, the first in the UK with carbon capture technology, are to be lodged with the Scottish government today. Environmentalists are outraged by the scheme which, if it gets the go-ahead, will the first new fossil-fuel power station in Scotland since 1973, when Lognannet in Fife was built.
The 1.6 gigawatt plant, proposed by Ayrshire Power, is seen as a test of the Scottish government’s energy policy, which is fiercely anti-nuclear and pro- renewables but which critics say ignores the realities of future demand for power.
If permission is granted, the site, at Hunterston, will be the first in the UK to have an experimental carbon capture and storage facility. The company claims that this will capture 90 per cent of carbon from the plant and reduce consumption by up to 25 per cent.
Carbon capture and storage technology turns carbon dioxide into liquid using chemicals, enabling it to be stored underground. The new facility could meet the energy needs of three million homes, Ayrshire Power said.

Juliet Swann, of Friends of the Earth Scotland, said: “Carbon capture and storage is potentially a way to reach a low-carbon future. However, the carbon benefits are not yet proven and it should be demonstrated on existing plants first, not least so we can share the technology with the world and in doing so repay our debt to them for supplying us with so much of our dirty energy.”
The governmentis to ensure that the information needed for a full assessment of the proposals is available before putting the plans out for consultation.